Parents Can Help With...

Play Time


Do not get toys where children only need to press one button and are left with nothing else to do. Fancy, loud and flashy toys that do all the work for the child's amusement have no purpose. Buy toys that encourage your children to do something with their hands that can entertain them for long periods as they repeat the activity. TV and other electronic devices may hold their attention for a long time, but do not involve interaction nor manipulation. Dr. Montessori believed that in order for a child to absorb knowledge the work of the hand is very important. Therefore, it is best to provide your children with toys they can manipulate and engage their senses. Less is more. Periodically rotate toys, books and stuffed animals in your child's space. Remove items that may be visually overstimulating. Keep in mind children’s surrounding environment has an impact on their behavior. Take a minute to consider what your child really needs. Does the new innovative pop world of toys, movies and teen celebrities, support the developmental needs or personality of your child and your family? For example, is a certain video game important to your family’s long-term goals? “One lesson at a time” is the classroom standard– students choose from a variety of lessons, but can only choose ONE at a time; once chosen, it must be worked with until completed and placed back where it belongs before moving on to the next activity or task – this can be done at home when playing with toys as well. Your child can play without rushing and maintain a mode of concentration and purpose in their actions. Children should help keep their toy room/bedroom tidy and orderly. Discourage your child from throwing toys haphazardly together into bins, rather store toys as complete sets on a shelf or in their own containers. Remember, that in the classroom it is a privilege to work independently as they wish, but with this freedom also comes responsibilities




Courtesy


Focus on creating that unique classroom culture by teaching your children how to conduct themselves with polite behavior, sharing, taking turns, waiting their turn etc,. Help your child understand life skills you use on a daily basis. Share stories about your day when you had to stand in line, wait your turn; deal with problem solving, etc. We have a duty to society to instill good citizenship and courtesy in our children from a very young age; reinforce polite behavior in various situations. Have your children use indoor voices and walking feet in the house creating a courteous environment; being gentle with their toys, siblings and pets etc., Insist they use their words to express their feelings in a clear and calm manner, instead of tantrums. Grace and courtesy, are a huge reason why Montessori classrooms have that “magical air” about them.




Self Confidence


Allowing kids to ‘struggle’ through small situations is key to developing, and overcoming insecurities from a very young age. As a parent, even though this is extremely difficult- try not to interfere or intervene too much. Letting children solve their own ‘problems’ is a component towards maturing and growing up. To enable kids to build self- confidence, allow them to fail as well as succeed on their own; this builds and achieves confidence and character; which is a life skill! Give children the opportunity to make their own choices and accept the outcome. Raising a confident child relies on you being confident yourself to let your child venture! Any unnecessary help is a hindrance- use it or lose it. When we do for our children anything they can do for themselves, we slow down their progress towards building strong independent person. For example, instead of putting your child’s shoes and jacket on for them, let them accomplish this task , which they are very capable of achieving. Children are much more capable than we give them credit. Give your children responsibility and the freedom to make mistakes within the boundaries that you have set. Do not be afraid to set boundaries; sometimes we have to be the ‘bad guy’ by calling children back to a safe performance path. Setting firm expectations for behaviors help children learn to be responsible and understand the relationship between freedom and responsibility. On the other hand, children are not little adults; their needs are different. Understand developmentally what your child needs, and let your children be kids, not miniature grown-ups. Ultimately parenting is not about being your child’s best buddy; it is about leading and guiding your child towards adulthood




Bedtime/Nutrition


Children need more than eight hours of sleep per night, more in the range of 10 to 12 hours. Children’s diets require complex carbohydrates, veggies, fruits versus simple sugars. Invest some time to prepare their food – keep in mind that children do not need to eat and snack all day long- instead just require three well-balanced meals. Let your child help you set the table – have meals seated at table (not in front of a TV!); and finish their meal in a timely manner. Even the very young can use eating utensils independently




Academics


Children often have to compete with cell phones, computers, electronic devices, jobs, etc. for parent attention. Create a time each day where the only focus is your child and block off all electronic devices. Amazingly, even ten minutes of focused time per day can make a huge difference. Give your child small household chores to accomplish; a child can learn the concept of responsibility towards self and parents. We in Montessori call these small chores “Activities of Practical Life”; demonstrate to them exactly how a chore is accomplished (laying the foundation for life skills.) Once the child learns a sense of responsibility, self- confidence will naturally follow. The time and energy spent on these small self-independent activities help children to feel useful; thus forming the next plane of development= self-confidence. To develop fine motor control skills and self–confidence let them spoon, mix, pour, wash vegetables/fruits, measure (with math concepts), polish, clean , put things away, tie shoes, put on off jackets etc., Read with them/or to them; ask questions to reinforce reading comprehension Help practice their letter sounds (instead of ABC’s) in order to begin spelling and reading sooner; ask them to point out sounds they know when reading with them. (Ask your child’s teacher to demonstrate pure letter sounds to ensure they are hearing the same sound consistently) Help associate numerals and quantities, not just rote counting. Ensure they understand quantities, by making one to one correlation when counting objects. Have an activity to trace letters/numerals for correct and solid future handwriting; cut on a line using scissors, color in between lines. Read the class newsletters sent by the teacher together with your child-they will look forward to what is to come during that month. Reinforce the topics (in the newsletter) that your child’s teacher introduces to the class, by discussing those topics at home as well. Grade level students must read daily as well. Story map with them by asking questions on plot, setting, characters, problems, morals etc,. Have grade level students read their class newsletter; research those subjects and topics further, daily practice writing descriptive grammatically correct sentences on subjects outlined by their teacher, practice-writing paragraphs, (all of which gives a solid foundation for future essays and book reports) Practice cursive writing daily with correct letter formation With readiness, practice math facts and tables in all 4 operations; word problems, money calculations, reading the clock, calendar and time word problems, place value etc., are all areas that can be practiced at home in conjunction with class work. Work with an atlas- point out countries, capitals, important land marks, land formations, biomes, habitats, cultures etc., Garden, and bring Botany to life Visit the library/museums




Illness


It may seem that your children are persistently showing symptoms of a cold, which is actually a virus also known as an upper respiratory infection. There are at least 200 known viruses, with new ones frequently added as well. The trouble is, your child must get each virus to be immune to all of them. The average toddler has 6-12 viral infections per year. School age children with stronger immune systems have fewer infections and teens much less. Since each infection takes more than a week to run its course, it may seem like your children are constantly sick. Vitamin C and multi vitamins may modify illness symptoms; encourage your child to wash hands frequently, take plenty of exercise and eat healthy meals together with a good night’s sleep. Remember to keep sick children at home to avoid spreading illnesses with a continuous cycle of reinfection.





Home Guidance

    Many parents ask us how they can help their child at home to adjust to the Montessori environment once they have begun school at MAV. Below are a few pointers to help your child enjoy their Montessori experience while at school.

     Dr. Montessori vastly emphasized fostering the connection between the child’s school environment, home and nature. She stressed creating aesthetically pleasing, neat, orderly and calm environments. Make your home reflect the same.